The real estate market is a complex thing, and that makes leads incredibly valuable. By securing more real estate business and giving yourself more leads to new potential buyers, you can earn even more paying customers and improve your long-term financial success.
However, knowing how to generate leads in any industry can be tough. Lead generation takes many different forms, and not all of them are immediately obvious at first.
Generating new real estate leads takes time, but once you get the hang of how it works, you can become a major force in the local real estate market. How do you handle real estate lead generation, and what kind of techniques work best?
Table of Contents
What are Real Estate Leads?
A lead is any source of contact between you and a potential customer. This could be anything from email exchanges to direct advertising.
The point of trying to generate leads is to gather up more business and draw in more customers. When you generate leads properly, you are securing the interest of potential buyers that have a direct interest in your real estate business and the services it offers.
For example, some real estate leads might be people who follow you on social media accounts – they have an interest in your real estate business, and that gives you a way to market towards them if you think they will be a worthwhile customer.
Real estate leads can come from a huge range of different sources, meaning that you have a lot of interesting ways to secure them. However, generating leads still takes some effort.
Real Estate Lead Generation Strategies
Real estate leads come in all shapes and sizes, and that means that real estate lead generation can cover a lot of highly specific techniques. A smaller real estate agent business may choose to rely on only one or two kinds of lead generation strategies rather than trying to balance all of them at once.
Real estate professionals have a range of ways to market themselves to their target audiences, but it is pointless without a decent amount of real estate leads. You need somebody to market your real estate agent business to.
Here are some of the more common real estate lead generation ideas that you can rely on. Remember that these are all genuine strategies tested by countless companies over the years.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a core part of lead generation as a whole and has become a standard practice across every commercial industry.
SEO gives you more ways to target specific audiences and present your business in a particular way, all while keeping costs low and giving you more freedom with your lead options.
What is SEO?
SEO is all about manipulating and adjusting the way that your site appears on search engines, usually to increase your search engine rankings to appear higher in relevant search results.
The best way to attract leads is to put your business somewhere that customers can see it, and SEO is ideal for this kind of work. Improving your search ranking and site quality makes it easier to appear for the search results you actually want to target.
By refining the way that your site is displayed on search engines, you can target a steady stream of possible customers who have an active interest in your real estate options. This reduces the chance of you wasting marketing effort on site visitors who have no chance of becoming a paying customer.
How does SEO offer more leads?
The real estate industry uses SEO quite heavily, breaking it down into two very distinct goals. The first is to use SEO as a way of promoting your business to seller leads. You are putting your personal brand in front of new leads by tying your business to particular keywords, meaning that you will appear more often in search results related to those keywords.
The second is to use SEO as a way of minimizing mistakes. Generating leads is tough if half of your site visitors have no interest in your products, and SEO allows you to refine who sees your site – as well as the context behind why they are seeing it.
For example, SEO might offer you a way to get more real estate leads while also marketing only to people interested in buying and selling real estate property. This means that you can focus your real estate sales efforts exclusively on potential customers.
Paid advertising can be a powerful real estate lead generation tool, offering an easy way for real estate agents to start generating leads almost immediately. This offers you a steady stream of new clients and potential leads, all of which you have marketed to directly.
While new agents with a limited budget might need to limit their advertising spending, it is a good way to capture high-quality leads that other agents may have missed.
By advertising to prospective sellers, you get to project your own message and business image. This makes paid ads powerful for capturing leads in specific niches, as well as for more general digital marketing requirements.
How do paid ads help?
Paid advertisements allow you to spread your real estate business to more spaces, presenting yourselves as real estate professionals worth using.
Generating online leads is all about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time, and that makes paid advertising powerful. You can earn new clients passively just by having ads running for particular keywords that people are likely to search for.
Like SEO, you can optimize your paid digital marketing. Tweaking keywords and adjusting your ad text can allow you to target specific markets and gather qualified leads from whichever niches are most important to your business.
Most people hate cold calling, but it does work more than it should. Some real estate agents turn to cold calling as a way of getting more direct attention from somebody who otherwise has not responded or shown any direct connection to the business.
At worst, you will drive away a customer who already was not planning on using your real estate agent business. This is not a terrible loss as long as it does not happen too often.
However, with some careful planning, it is possible to cold-call all the right people and turn cold leads right back into warm leads worth pursuing.
Emails are a good example of a cold call method that works. Many successful real estate business owners have used partially-personalized emails to build a more personal connection with potential clients.
While it will not work for every situation, it is a great lead generation option that can have a lot of flexibility. It is also a very direct way to approach a potential customer, something that makes a big difference if you can use it correctly.
Cold-call phone calls are annoying to many people, but they are also one of the most upfront ways to try and claim seller leads. Calling at complete random is never a good idea, but if you have a list of people who have shown some kind of interest in real estate, then it becomes far more useful.
By pushing for direct lead generation and establishing instant contact, your real estate agents have a chance of getting exclusive leads that you would otherwise never have earned. While there might be a risk that you will push away potential clients, these are often going to be clients that you were not going to earn anyway, no matter what you try.
While not really a form of cold call, live chat prompts on your website can make a difference. A lot of sites like to bring up a little chat bubble asking if the user wants help if they stare at one page for too long, and this can be a good way to draw in some potential clients.
If they are genuinely staring at that page for too long, then there might be something your real estate agents can help with – allowing you to nudge them into your sales funnel. If the page is open because they forgot about it, the noise of the chat bubble appearing can draw them right back to looking at it.
Social Media Marketing
Your social media presence is a valuable marketing tool and an effective way to approach real estate lead generation. Leveraging your social media accounts gives you a way to spread your personal brand and communicate with potential clients directly, as well as engage with past clients.
A new business may struggle with social platforms, but the important thing is to be consistent. Posting regularly and creating content to draw in your target audience can be tough, but it is an easy path to free real estate leads and a lot more customer interaction. Most social platforms also have paid advertising features to help promote your brand even further.
Social Media Posts
Making regular posts on your social accounts allows you to capture new business opportunities, finding buyer leads in parts of the market you might not have considered. Careful use of hashtags and other keywords can make a huge difference in the long term.
There is also a chance that some social media posts can go viral. While it can sometimes be a risk, creating funny or engaging content that stands out from the norm is often enough to gain traction, which can lead to even more users finding your account.
Social Platform Flexibility
Social media allows for a lot of different options when it comes to building leads. You can post almost any kind of content there, engage with new customers on your own terms, and promote whatever part of your business you are putting the most effort into.
This also means that one social account can technically establish a presence across multiple markets. Varying up your content can generate real estate leads across a range of audiences and drive more potential customers to your site, even if you do not pay for advertising features.
Note that social media platforms are also quite likely to appear in search results. This means that having a Twitter account, Facebook page or a presence on another major platform can effectively cause your business to be listed twice in relevant search results, limiting the amount of competition you will face for certain keywords.
Many people underestimate how useful customer reviews can be when it comes to real estate lead generation. A good review is not just a source of customer feedback but a useful tool for promoting yourself and capturing potential clients who would have otherwise passed over your business.
New possible customers respond to reviews from past clients very well. Not only does your overall review ranking let them compare you to other real estate agents, but a good review can actually help nudge them into converting rather than just looking at your site before moving on.
A positive review of your business will generally be posted on a review site, although you can then link to it from your site if you want to fill a landing page with positive feedback. However you handle it, this review is going to be something that customers will see.
If a potential customer finds that the majority of your reviews are positive, then they will be more likely to choose you as their real estate agent. This becomes even more likely if the positive reviews have extra details, like breakdowns of the great services you offered or positive feedback toward a particular real estate agent working at your business.
If somebody sees these reviews and develops a stronger interest in your business, that is a lead opportunity. The more positive reviews you can present to customers, the more likely you are to sway their opinion in your favor.
Negative reviews are the exact opposite problem – you want to deal with them as soon as possible before new leads see them and have their opinion of your business soured. You can do this by approaching the person who left the review and offering some kind of compensation or deal to try and get it turned around.
If you made a mistake during an open house tour, promise something that will make up for the difference. Pay them for small renovations you did not mention while showing them open houses or give them a partial refund on additional services that they never got a chance to use. Do whatever it takes to get that negative review taken down.
It is much harder for a business to get positive reviews compared to negative ones, so you should always strive to remove the negative feedback whenever you can.
Deleting it is not a good idea, though – it reflects terribly on your business. Instead, find a compromise and show your potential clients that you are willing to work hard for maximum customer satisfaction.
Not all reviews are as important as others. Posts in small Facebook groups might not be that significant, while reviews that appear during Google searches can be a serious concern.
No business is completely free of criticism – prioritize review management based on the ones that are actually going to impact your business the most.
Make Basic Site Improvements
Even small changes to your site can make a huge difference. Lead generation is all about trying to nudge possible customers into becoming paying clients and having a good site can be a good way to speed up this process.
Remember that your site is usually the deciding factor for many people. While a bad social media presence is forgivable, and not all ads are going to be that appealing to everybody, a bad site can slash your amount of prospective customers in half almost instantly.
Very few people will be willing to trust a site that looks like it was coded from scratch by one person with barely any experience. Even if your site looks good, any major issues with navigating the layout or accessing important information can also be a “quit moment” for a lot of people.
Make a real estate agent site that actually looks decent. Real estate lead generation is not easy, but it becomes even harder if you are leading people to a real estate website that they can’t even trust due to how it looks.
Sprucing up the visuals and adding some more professional elements can be the best way to ensure that your site looks more up-to-date, something that will really help secure picky clients. Basically, you want to avoid your site looking like it could be hosting all kinds of viruses – it needs to look well-maintained and fit in with current expectations of how a site should look.
There is no point trying to draw in clients with your site if it is not actually one that they can use properly.
Bad site usability – whether that is poor navigation or just bad clarity from your aesthetic choices – will make it much harder to get new leads converted into clients.
Improving site usability should always be a priority. Even if it does not generate you any new leads, it can at least make sure that your existing leads are much easier to capture, and it prevents you from losing as many leads due to your site’s own poor design.
Mobile Device COMPATIBILITY
Many people forget that mobile devices are a huge part of every market, and that includes real estate.
There is a reason that so many real estate sites have alternate mobile versions or responsive designs that can fit any screen size – a lot of real estate lead generation opportunities rely on the mobile market.
Mobile compatibility is important. If new users can’t even visit your site properly with their phone, let alone use any advanced features, then many of them will simply go and look for another site that they can use.
Only a small amount of people will have another readily-available device that they can switch to, and even fewer will actually want to switch over. In most markets, a bad first impression on mobile devices is an instant loss of countless high-quality leads that were just a few clicks away from your sales funnel.
While not a lead generation strategy in itself, having a proper plan is the best way to approach real estate lead generation.
In general, being able to generate real estate leads is an incredibly useful option that comes with some serious risks and concerns. If you try to generate real estate leads in the wrong way or dedicate too much budget to the wrong market, you can end up harming your business more than you help it.
Set yourself both short-term and long-term goals for your lead generation strategy. For example, maybe you have a certain amount of open houses you want to sell, with an overall goal of turning every current open house into a sale.
These goals do not have to be all about sales, either. Perhaps you want to focus on your real estate marketing first, making sure that you can get more wannabe property owners into the open house showings faster.
Think about the market you are aiming for, whether that is a national audience or a local market. Real estate is a complex market that has a lot of different factors to consider, and the most important one is always the market itself.
The best real estate lead generation ideas for your situation will change depending on who you are targeting. You need to think about the overall audience you are aiming for and what kind of methods would be most likely to appeal to them.
Remember that listings are for each individual home, meaning that you need to think carefully about how you’ are going to market them.
If you market an entire house as part of a campaign, then you need to keep in mind that the house will eventually sell. Building your marketing around specific homes can be a powerful way to present the best of what you can offer, but it also means that you will eventually have to replace them with something else.
The opposite applies to getting people to sell their homes. Contacting expired listings might be a good way to get in touch with people who are frustrated that their home did not sell the first time, meaning that you can potentially draw them back into attempting another sale.
Other Things to Consider as a Real Estate Agent
When you are working with real estate lead generation ideas, there are a lot of elements that go into generating your leads in the first place. This also means that there can be a huge range of different factors to consider, some with a huge impact on your marketing and some almost completely meaningless until they get in your way.
Unconventional Lead Generation Methods
There are countless ways to generate leads, and that does not just mean the options listed above.
A few tips would not be enough to explain just how many different ways you can gather leads, especially not when you break it down even further into smaller target audiences.
For example, rural clients are going to require inherently different methods of marketing compared to clients that want to buy or sell city apartment properties. Even using your former clients as an example might not clear things up that much.
For example, you might host community events to promote properties for sale or offer to buy and refurbish distressed properties. You may target local businesses to sell commercial land or pursue expired listings to get past clients back into your system.
There is no perfect way to approach leads, and your methods will completely change the kind of leads you get.
For example, the way that your multiple listing service handles expired listings may completely change the way that you can use expired listings in your lead generation efforts.
Lead generation is completely different for every single experienced agent, team of estate liquidators, or large-scale company. This is the same across all industries: everybody, from divorce lawyers to blog owners, will tackle leads in a unique way.
Not everybody is going to be looking at your real estate investing options to actually own a home. Some are going to want to rent the place out, convert and re-sell it, or even turn it into a commercial business if they can get the legal rights and approval to do so.
Sale is also a similar story. While most people are selling to get rid of their homes, not everybody who sells is buying another home.
Some homes may be rental property owners who want to sell off buildings that are not being occupied or that are not worth them renting out anymore.
This means that you can always target other audiences based on what kind of business you actually want. Sometimes changing tactics can give you access to a new market or audience that you were not originally aware of.
One of the biggest factors to consider when looking at real estate lead generation ideas is how complex they can become.
Some businesses may thrive with only one or two core focuses, while others may want to spread out into every possible niche of lead generation just in case.
There is not an ideal way to approach lead generation, which means that you are free to use every one of the real estate lead generation ideas mentioned here however your business needs them to be used.
The only real risk when using multiple major lead generation methods is the time commitment.
Lead generation is still usually an active process, requiring somebody to actually oversee everything and ensure that it is all working as intended. This means that small businesses might have to juggle multiple different options if they want multiple sources of leads.
What To Do Next
It can be hard to know what you should be doing once you have the basics of lead generation established, but the truth is that there is not a perfect answer.
Whether you stick to the simple options or you try something creative – like setting up Facebook groups to market your services or adding a sign-in sheet to your site to collect consumer data – you will be working on your own terms.
It helps to put yourself in the position of the seller or buyer’s agent, even before they become customers. What would it take for you to be satisfied with the negotiations going on, and what kind of extra steps could you take?
Beyond that, think about the kind of services you might end up offering.
Even if you want to be a market leader in housing sales, you should not ignore the fact that you can serve as estate liquidators or in countless other roles that have a very unique target audience.
Lead Generation for Real Estate Agents
Groups like the National Association of Realtors will have some sway in the market, as will larger market-leader companies and organizations. At the end of the day, you are following your own marketing, not theirs.
While the advice here will keep you focused on doing lead generation well, the strategy that you adopt will be unique to your business, team, or one-person operation. Directly copying an existing lead generation strategy can leave you with sub-par results.
Do your best to carve out your own niche, and avoid tangling with larger companies directly if you can help it. You can’t overwhelm some of the larger market-dominating companies, but you can slip into the gaps that they have left behind and start claiming your own corner of the market.
Remember that lead generation is a tough thing for any company to tackle, and it will not come easily at first. Take each stumble in your stride and try to find ways that you can improve your own marketing even further, especially if you are desperate for more leads and customers.
Whatever you settle on using, it will be something that suits your business perfectly. The best thing to do is take as much time as possible to plan everything out, then use that plan as a guideline, adapting it whenever you encounter an unexpected problem or factor you did not consider.
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Kasra Dash is a Scottish entrepreneur, Kasra Primarily focuses on SEO & digital marketing for companies in the UK he enjoys brining positive ROI’s for business owners with his marketing expertise.
Kasra is also an investor in Searcharoo.